Los Angeles

Beat the Heat

Sunset at Santa Monica Beach

As Angelenos swelter in historic heatwave, city and county governments seek to cool vulnerable residents  

Wildfires sparked by dry lightning storms across California this week are an ominous cap to the state’s historic heat emergency, adding hazardous air quality and evacuation orders to the burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis. Fire risk aside, the heat wave is now entering its most deadly phase. Nationwide, heat kills more Americans …

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Bless the Rains Down in Los Angeles

As a wet winter approaches, Los Angeles County focuses on initiatives to capture rainwater and reduce ocean runoff

(Note: I previously wrote a law review article published in 2016 in the Villanova Environmental Law Journal, accessible here, about related policy suggestions for improving rainwater capture in reference to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.) If you live in California, or have been in the state over the last couple weeks, you’ll know that we …

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Is Socialism Good for the Environment?

The answer is: “Sometimes yes, sometimes not so much.”

Some of the people who are most fervent about the environment these days describe themselves as socialists.  But is socialism actually a good thing for the environment?  That seems like a significant question in a political context where people on both sides are throwing around the word “socialist” so much, so I decided to see …

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Can Voter Registration Combat NIMBYism?

Homeless Voting Can Change the Urban Political Calculus

NIMBY land use politics stems from a classic political process failure: the people who would benefit from more housing do not yet live in the jurisdiction where it will be built — and for the most part, do not even know that they will be the ones who will live there. Thus, local officeholders have …

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New report on housing entitlement in LA

Report covers regulatory approvals for residential projects in four LA cities in 2014-16

I’ve blogged previously about work that a team here at UC Berkeley (Moira O’Neill, Giulia Gualco-Nelson, and myself) have been doing on studying land-use regulation, environmental law, and housing production in California, to get a better sense of how regulatory processes may be driving the housing crisis in the state, and eventually to produce specific …

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Scooter

Criticism of electric scooters misses the climate change and pedestrian safety benefits

If you live in a major city on the West Coast or in handful of cities on the East Coast, you probably have an opinion on the electric scooters that have been dropped haphazardly onto your local streets and sidewalks. And it’s probably not a positive one. But I’m here to tell you why scooters …

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Where Does California Stand On Managing Vehicle Pollution?

4 stories to watch as policymakers aim for cleaner air and safer streets

While California has been a decades-long leader in technologies and policies to reduce smog from cars, the state has in recent years been seriously ramping up efforts to simultaneously deliver cuts to vehicle carbon emissions, one of the state’s most stubborn climate policy challenges. Vehicle pollution poses both long-term risks for climate change and immediate …

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You’re Invited! UCLA Law Events at the Global Climate Action Summit

Global Climate Action Summit

Affiliate events will cover UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative, sustainability in Los Angeles and transportation revolutions

UCLA Law is coming to the Bay Area next week for the Global Climate Action Summit, a major gathering of climate leaders from states, cities, universities, the private sector and civil society to advance action on global warming. Jurisdictions and organizations involved are moving forward with new commitments. Last week, the California legislature sent one …

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Hot Enough Yet?

Apparently not.

Two weeks ago, my family vacation took us past the self-proclaimed “world’s largest thermometer,” in Baker, California, which read 111 degrees when we visited it–the hottest air temperature my kids had ever felt.  Back at UCLA we’re feeling the heat today, too, with much of the LA basin scorching in record temperatures.  L.A.’s heat wave …

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The CEQA Exemption that Ate LA

A bold attempt to get a huge exemption from state’s marquee environmental law

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is a state law that requires full analysis, public disclosure, and where feasible, mitigation of environmental impacts from state and local government projects, including permits for private development.  I’ve written before about the problematic nature of exempting specific projects from CEQA.  In general, my concern is that once you …

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